28 February 2011

A not-unpleasant visit to a doctor (it happens sometimes)

I went to see an ENT, and he was one of the best doctors I've ever encountered.
  • He actually read the forms I filled out.  Seriously.  I didn't slave away on useless paperwork I've already filled out a million times only to have it not even looked at.
  • He asked a lot of questions.  And listened to the answers.  However, I think I've learned that if he asks the same question more than once, it means I'm giving the wrong answer.  It was kind of like those online applications that ask the same questions to try to trick you into being inconsistent, so they don't actually have to spend human time screening applicants.  Only not.  So, yes, apparently, I strain when I talk and sing.
  • He did not immediately prescribe expensive medication.  Any time I can walk out of a doctor's office with instructions to drink more water and sometimes Gatorade and use a nasal saline rinse (recipe provided with an emphasis on the need to use pickling salt instead of table salt), I feel I have not been ripped off.
  • He pointed out that I had a big gob of lotion on my face.  He said, "Oh, and I guess my nurse was too much of a coward to mention this, but you have a big blob of lotion on your face."  He also wiped it off.  Mortification . . . 
  • He did not act like he knew everything after our 45 minutes together.  When I asked him if he thought all these other problems meant that at least I didn't have acid reflux, he said, "I have no idea.  You have so many other symptoms, we'll have to try to clear them up before we can even figure that out."
  • He gave a follow-up time frame.  He said, "Try these simple things.  Come back in three months, and we'll see if we're on the right track.  Then we can talk about whether or not you have other problems."
  • He hates my voice recognition software.  We sat in companionable silence as he typed up his notes right then and there after talking about how frustrating it can be to use the Dragon voice recognition software later.  It's bad for his blood pressure, too.  I can see why since he does not have a calm, even, boring NPR announcer voice with no emotion or inflection.
If all doctors were as helpful, compassionate, and competent as him, I think people wouldn't hate going to the doctor.  They would feel like they had an ally interested only in helping them heal.  Whoa.

Have you ever seen a doctor that restored your faith in the medical/healing professional?

27 February 2011

seeing scars

a man at church in a front pew      with a head of tiny buzzed stubble
a huge scar   only visible from a particular angle behind
invisible to me when he turns his head and I see from any of the other angles

if we looked at the right angle
would we see souls like that
mangled and scarred
but only if seen from that one angle

look away

Ah, stress

This week
I learned
that I still
have stress-induced asthma.

Rough week at work.  Good thing I've been reading about ways to deal with stress.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Keep inhaler on hand.

P.S. I'm so glad I'm not still working at RetailEstablishment.

22 February 2011

What is it about snow falling

What is it about snow falling that saps me of the will to do anything non-hibernatory?  I wonder: if I'd just closed the curtains, could I have actually gotten myself together and accomplished something (other than reading The Name of the Wind, dishes, and cleaning), such as completing my tax research and submitting my taxes?  The world may never know because I was entranced by the sight of all that falling snow out of the corner of my eye as I sat on my tiny couch in my tiny room reading a large book of grand, epic adventures.  Except for the cleaning and dishes, it was pretty much perfect.

15 February 2011

Not Hanging Curtains, an excerpt from Ways to Get Injured on the Sidelines

I was being so good.  Instead of trying to do it myself, I invited some friends over (thanks for your help, folks) to come hang my noise- and light-canceling curtains (bought with the gift card my sister and brother-in-law sent me for graduation a while ago).  In my past attempts at home improvement and tool-related tasks post injury, I've learned that independence and stupidity can often be linked, and it's better to just ask for help.

We had pasta and garlic bread and deadly chocolate desserts.  Their child wandered around my baby death trap apartment and only licked the TV and my cell phone.  And some rocks.  That I saw.  No post-it notes were harmed.  They hung the curtains.  Fun was had by some.  As they were getting ready to leave, and I was sliding lighter things back into place, a big, tall, heavy lamp fell off its chair/pedastel.

With my athletically trained, lightning-fast reflexes, I caught that sucker before it could hit the ground and break.  Too bad my catching hand is my left hand. 

I haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep since then.  Even though I didn't hang any curtains.


Maybe I need to actually leave my apartment when things are being improved/fixed/installed.  I should probably sit calmly in the hallway and practice breathing or something until there is nothing in my apartment that could possibly hurt me.  Or the apocalypse occurs, whichever happens first.

Assault on insomnia: The Sleep Study Edition

Now that I have some serious money available for medical expenses in my FSA, I am ready to try to get rid of my chronic-pain initiated insomnia. In fact, there's no better time because FSA limist will be capped much lower if the health care legislation is still around next year, and I'd rather do this with pre-taxed moolah.

What this means is that I went and had a sleep study done, and it was not very entertaining (for me or the poor techs who have to be at your beck and call all night). A sleep study is where you go to a place and sleep while wired to enough monitors and hardware to guarantee you have sleep problems that night even if you didn't have them coming in. Then you spend the next four days trying to get adhesive off your face and out of your hair.

Kimberly: Um, how, exactly do you get the adhesive out of your hair?
Tech (who has likely seen at least a thousand patients looking like this after a sleep study and thus should not make me feel embarrassed to look like this): Well, that adhesive is designed to dissolve in hot water. A lot of very hot water. I recommend you take a very long, hot shower and use the entire bottle of shampoo we provided. (Leaves, probably not to go snicker about how ridiculous I look with my hair full of adhesive.)
Kimberly: (thinking to herself to avoid thinking about the allergic reaction her skin is having to the electrode adhesive she's been wearing all night) Hey, that's kind of inteteresting. "Love" nowadays is kind of like that. A bond that dissolves in hot water . . . I hope I still remember that after I get out of the shower. I think I could get a poem or a really short, snarky essay out of that . . .

After showering and putting on clothes and getting ready to leave by going to the front desk.

Kimberly: I got most of the adhesive off, but I don't want to scrub my face to destruction. Do you have any adhesive remover?
Nurse: That would be a great idea! No, I don't think we do. Let me go check.
Kimberly: (reading the paper) Ah, the guy who sold me my car is trying to choose where he spends his prison sentence . . .)
Nurse: (coming back) Nope. It doesn't look like we do, but I'll definitely request it because it would be good to have on hand.  (Smiling like a helpful labrador retriever, she hands me a couple packets of something that says "Caution: May cause eye irritation.") We do have nail polish remover.  Um, it's up to you if you want to use it on your face.
Kimberly: . . .

I should get some results back soon.

08 February 2011

Being sick is gross; also, how do you deal with office jerks?

I bet for once I'm the one driving my cube neighbor nuts. It might be an overall stalemate, though, because I'm miserable, too. I'm sure he really enjoys hearing me blow my nose every 37 seconds. At least when I'm trying to clear my nose, I can't hear him talking on the phone. :)

If only I could be this obnoxious while sitting next to the passive-aggressive meanie-head I've been working overtime for the last few days. Then again, it's probably good I never see him. It might be hard to keep from saying the hilarious/cutting things I've been thinking up to say, especially if he actually said some of the things he's written in his emails recently. Am I really working so hard to make a jerk like this look good?

I find myself curious to know if he realizes how awful of a co-worker he is. I hear stories from other people; it seems he treats everyone the same. Does he know the effects of his behavior or is he just awkward (not realizing he's being so mean, difficult, and disrespectful)? I wonder what would happen if I asked him? Would it be worse if he did realize or if he didn't?

How do you confront people like him when you know you have to keep working with them? How do you let them know when their thoughtlessness has crossed a line (especially when you suspect they are actually doing it on purpose) without making your working relationship worse?